Ready Virginia


Do You Know the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule?

National Lightning Awareness Week is June 22-28 

Summer is on the way, and that means summer storms are, too. Most lightning deaths and injuries occur in the summer months when people are caught outdoors during the afternoons and evenings. Reduce your risk with these safety tips:

  • If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.
  • When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter – a substantial building or a metal-topped vehicle with windows up.
  • Remember the 30/30 lightning safety rule: Go indoors if after seeing lightning you can’t count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
  • If you are anywhere you feel your hair stand on end, then squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands over your ears and your head between your knees. Make yourself the smallest target, and minimize your contact with the ground.
  • Avoid contact with anything metal – tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts and golf clubs, and bicycles. 
  • If you are in an open area or on open water, then get to land and find shelter immediately.

Lightning is one of the top three storm-related killers. It often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall. Stay informed about changing weather conditions during the summer by tuning in to local media weather reports and monitoring NOAA Weather Radio. 

National Lightning Awareness Week is June 22-28. For more about lightning safety, go to or



Prepared by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, May 2014  

(804) 897-6510



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